Here is my long short story/novelette, Apple Juice. This is 11k words total. I would love your honest opinions if you read it. If there are any errors I apologize. If you feel like it, let me know if there are any typos or awkward bits. And I know it has flaws, and with all my articles on writing you’re gonna think I’m a hypocrite and all, which I am, haha. I actually do rather like this story, even though I’m fully aware of some it’s flaws and it is rather unlike most of my writing. I tried to write this as honestly as possible, so this is kind of a journey into part of my mind.
Apple Juice is about a nihilist man struggling to live with the gaping blackness of a meaningless existence, but a glimpse of a beautiful Something through pulled blinds makes him wonder if perhaps the world isn’t just all nothingness after all.
“Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them.”
― Henry David Thoreau
My mind is like spaghetti. A bunch of twisted limp noodles that look like they go somewhere, but when you pull one out, it’s broken on both sides. And that’s how I see the world. Nothing before or after death, and in the middle just a bunch of lives twirling around tangled together coming from nowhere and going nowhere. Why prolong this drudgery, I thought.
The concrete below, oh it did look lovely. Every time I look over the edge of the balcony I lust for a fall. But I’ve got years to wait before I taste sweet death. That’s why I don’t like to go up high without my medication, as I fear rash impulse may win over my conscious.
I willed myself to go back, sit at my glossy oversized desk, and pretend I cared about my shampoo company. I stared at my silver name plate. It read “Richard Weston” in all capital letters, as if it was associated with something important. What a joke. You see, I hate life. Not just my life, but life in general. In fact, I hate that life is even a thing. It’s stupid. So entirely useless. Have you ever seen those science shows where they talk about how every single person—every beating heart on this earth—is just a fraction of a speck in the universe? The universe existed billions of years before any of us arrived here and will continue to exist after we’re all gone.
I should warn you before you go any further in this story. There is something sad, which you may however find amusing—though I find it just boring. It is this: I already know how this narrative will end, if it is ever completed. I may as well tell you now, because there is no point in not spoiling the ending, as the ending wasn’t any good to begin with. The ending goes like this: “Now that I am finished with this story, neither you nor I have gained a thing. In fact, you may have lost your ignorant bliss, and for that I am so sorry. But I told you not to read it in the first place. I was always told it was good to express your feelings and let out negative thoughts, though I have found this is not true. Explaining all of my miseries and dark discoveries has only validated them further. Yet I may write a sequel to this, merely because I have nothing to do anymore. I’m sure the sequel won’t be any better than this though.” Unquote.
Most of my life consists of distraction. Mere distraction. I ought to note this narrative is not worth reading, but as nothing is worth reading anyway, you may as well read it as not. I sat down to record my study the meaning (or lack thereof) of human life simply because I had to find something to occupy my time when the office was closed and the theatre had nothing of interest playing. You see, I must be occupied with something that consumes as much of my mind as possible at every moment of the day, I must be utterly distracted. My mind must be at all times consumed by something. And, as the meaningless of life is the solitary subject which I find any amusement in, I thought it to be the least boring distraction available thus far.
But before I ahead of myself, I suppose I should tell you how my fall to depression, for lack of a better word, started. “Depression” sounds too much like something an anxiety pill, a hug from an old friend, or just a change in scenery can fix. This was more than just moping around, this was panic. It was the day I finally just stopped and attended to the nagging question that had followed me most of my life: why. Why am I here? Why is anything here? Those led me to the deepest thoughts, which are always the darkest. There was one night. One night I will never forget. It was so awful, I almost tried to end it by killing myself. Luckily (or not) I decided against it though.
I am almost afraid to tell you, for fear even speaking of it may allow those feelings to come back. It was the day I found out nothing I have ever done or will ever do will ever truly matter to anyone. Because nothing matters. Nothing. Living life is like writing a novel you’re just going to burn when you’re done with it. Pointless. This is the discovery that nearly drove me to madness and death. Though I am not yet sure if I have escaped insanity. It’s not exactly a mark of mental well-being when I get so overwhelmed I just force my mind into blank indifference and stare at the patterns on the wallpaper or singing songs I don’t even like. It is like having your brain hurt so much you dig it out of you skull and leave it dangling by threads. I’m pretty sure I just end up looking like a sad and confused robot. That’s not normal, is it?
People say, “Live for the moment!”, but what if the moment is miserable, like it is for so many? They say, “Live to party!” That’s not even fun let alone meaningful, and even when it is fun it lands you in jail half the time and that’s definitely not fun. Some say they live for some kind of activity, like music or ballet. It all just goes away, not matter how smart or talented you get. And what if they went deaf, or got injured? I guess they would just lay down and die. And of course, the “good” people say “Live for others!”, but what good will that do? If I spent my whole life living for others I could still only affect a few people, who will just die anyway. And besides, that just hurts my brain. If everyone lives for others who reaps the benefit? If I give you all my money and you give it away again because you’re living for others too it just goes in a big circle.
So I tried everything. I went through every scenario, analyzed every religious belief and philosophy I could bring to mind, and I found out they all lead to nothing. It was just so frightening. But I guess fear isn’t the best way to describe it, because in every fear there is a hope the dreaded event will somehow be abated. But no, this was worse than fear, it was final. The expanse of nothingness was totally and solidly final, a black hole.
There was no coping when I concluded nothing I ever did or ever will do could ever truly matter in the end. And the worse part, there was no way out. Not even death. You see, suicide is immoral, for me at least. I have a family. Not that I’m much good to them, but if I killed myself they would be crushed. If I committed suicide it would make the lives of everyone who knows me at all just a little bit darker. I had to just keep on eating, pumping blood, and breathing, no matter how miserable it was, because I couldn’t die with myself knowing how much pain it would cause others. Call it heroic, but to me it is an unfortunate impasse. I have no choice but to live with myself.
My thoughts—my agony—kept me awake all night. My eyes were twitching and red as I sat on the floor in utter despair, after weeping for hours. Wretched. It was far worse than a living death, it was hell of the worst kind. Torture would have been better. I longed for something to numb my mind and senses. I shook my head, thinking of how many days I had lived before this day in ignorant bliss, never knowing this discovery that everything is nothing had been lurking around the corner since my birth.
I decided there was nothing for it but pills, to put myself in a daze during the day and and to make me sleep at night. But, in the whimpering exhale after the climax of my sorrow, after I had no more horror left to hope against, the sun rose and I saw the golden sunlight rising in a line behind my crooked blinds. Slats of glowing color tinted the carpet below the window. And I thought, that can’t be just nothing. It was something, and it was beautiful. So that made me wonder. Not hope, just wonder. But wondering was enough to keep me from putting myself in a walking coma. So I emptied my pill bottles, akin to pain medication, and I subject myself daily to…myself.
During my experience in considering death as an alternative lifestyle, I discovered suicide as a result of depression is purely illogical, unless the individual is joyful about the prospect of death. When people are utterly miserable and feel they can never get less miserable they feel there is no point in even living, so they decide it is best to end their own suffering. They think nothing they can do can make anything better, and everything is ultimately pointless. Why then, do these people feel sad about killing themselves, when logically ending their suffering should be a happy occasion, not the depths of despair? It is contradictory. These people simply aren’t thinking clearly.
Of course, I decided I must not fall prey to such fallacies, thus logic denied me the option of death as a release from sorrow. I despair in face of the utter meaninglessness of life, but the reason I am still alive is because I felt sad about it the thought of killing myself. I should have been happy about a release from misery but I wasn’t, I was sad. That did not make sense. I reasoned the only cause for this reaction to my own death must be that something in the back of my mind still clings to the whisper that there may be some reason to stay alive. Death now seems the worst option to me, as it erases even the possibility of discovering significance. And that’s the only reason I’m still alive. Ironically, in contemplating killing myself, I developed a fear of death. Because I now view my life as an experiment to test my hypothesis life is meaningless, I am determined to survive in order to test my theory. I have found meaning in the search to see if there is any meaning.
Another thought on the logical functions of suicide: why do people so often do some significant last action, or leave a meaningful note when they kill themselves? If they are going to kill themselves, they clearly see life as meaningless. Yet if there is no meaning in life, then why bother with a supposedly meaningless life? Perhaps they are bothering just in case the note they leave is significant, just in case their last action is meaningful. Then why not live just in case life becomes significant and meaningful? Suicide is a rejection of significance, therefore making meaningful suicide notes incongruent and illogical. So here I am, my existence saved by logic alone! But it is a living death.
It is worst when I fail to distract myself and I relapse into thought. Emotional anguish transforms into real physical that pain overtakes me. It goes so deeply. It makes me tingle and shake all over. I feel weak and watery, as if I’ve been poisoned. And inside my chest aches. But there is no escape. I’ve tried painkiller, it doesn’t work. Not for this. I turn on music, in a desperate attempt to escape the pain. Even though, to be honest, the pain helps block out a bit of the sorrow. So basically it’s a lose-lose scenario. I think music is my favorite thing, but it must be loud. Loud enough to drown out all my thoughts. When I turn it on I still feel my constant pain, in my body and my mind, but I forget it for those few moments where sound is the only thing in existence. And in that moment I don’t know whether to smile or cry.
I was awoken by the sound of my own body banging against the wall. My arm and a knee. Apparently my distress is even present while I sleep. And when you sleep, you can’t control yourself, you can’t hide and push away what troubles you.
I heard the maid call from the other side of the door, “Are you alright sir?”
I rolled over in the sheets. “Yeah.” I wondered what she must think of me. I tried to hide my problems from her and just act like a normal billionaire, but sometimes that didn’t go very well. She couldn’t not notice when I slept late and moped around the dim rooms of my oversized house. I worried she sometimes saw the red in my eyes.
I picked up my smartphone. 6AM, and apparently I had a meeting scheduled with my counselor in two hours. My mum had insisted I try to get some help after she started noticing I wasn’t exactly bouncing off the walls with happiness when she showed up unannounced at my house and found me still in my pajamas at 3pm just staring at the walls in an unlit room. After that I made a better effort to suppress my condition, but you can’t hide everything from a woman like my mother.
I never mention my depression problem to anyone. For one, because it’s bad enough I’m messed up and I certainly don’t want to spread it around. The other reason is because…well, I’m embarrassed about it. My counselor says I shouldn’t feel any more guilty about having a depressive disorder than I would about having another mental disorder like Alzheimer’s, the reasoning being if it’s not your fault you’re messed up there’s nothing to be ashamed of. But that’s just the thing—it is my fault. My kind of depression isn’t some kind of sickness or brain malfunction. I could pretend to be normal—people with Alzheimer’s and schizophrenia and all that can’t. But I’m good at pretending. I have a choice. It’s not a mental disorder, it’s an external dilemma. Who knows, I might even be able to pretend enough to forget I’m depressed for a while. After all, isn’t that what everyone else does?
I decided I may as well get up now. My sleeping medication had probably worn off too much for me to get any more rest. After getting dressed and eating breakfast as slowly as possible, I arrived for my appointment early. A motivational calendar in my counselor’s office had a picture of a sunset and quote that read in italics, “True happiness is born when you look inside and discover your true self.” I refrained from rolling my eyes. Do you know what’s inside of me? Lungs and bones and blood. All of this “joy is from within” and “if you find your true self you will be fulfilled” nonsense doesn’t work, I’m not all that great. Really I’m not. I need something outside me.
When people ask me what my favorite quote is, I am reluctant to answer, and I normally recite whatever optimistic saying pops into my head about “being yourself” or “setting goals.” I do this because in actuality my favorite is Mark Twain’s sentiment, “Sanity and happiness are an impossible combination.” This is the simplest summary of the human condition.
It did not take long once the meeting started before my head fell into my hands in frustration as the counselor tried in vain to convince me things could matter. I couldn’t help but speak in a strained voice. “No, no, no, no! No! That isn’t true. It isn’t true. That doesn’t work either. Just think about it for one stinking minute!” She just did not get it. I always got so exasperated when people tried to help me.
But she had not given up on me yet—after all, she was getting paid enough to personally pay off the U.S. government’s debt. She spread her hands as if pleading with me to comply, “All I’m saying is we all find our own reason for living and if you just keep searching you’ll find one too! I know you will if you just give it a try!”
I rolled my head back, scratching my nails against the sleek couch I was sitting on. My words were choppy as I said, “I’m sorry, I know you’re trying to help, but I already gave it a try. If I just make up a reason myself it isn’t worth anything. There has to be some reason. That’s like saying we can all just make up our own answers to math problems. Saying multiple answers can be right just makes all the answers wrong. Existentialism is a self-defeating philosophy, miss. I’ve already thought through it. I’ve already thought through it all.”
“Come now, it’s all right, I know how you feel. We’ve all gone though a stage like this, when you just feel like nothing is going your way, but stay strong, things will get better!” The counselor contorted her face into a tight smile and raised her fist as though doing a weak imitation of motivational pastor. “Just remember, someone out there loves you!”
You don’t know how I feel and if you ever did you probably wouldn’t still be alive, I thought. “No, nothing is going wrong, that’s not the problem. And I already know people love me. It doesn’t fix my problem at all.” I sighed, exasperated. There was just no getting through to her. If anything, my family loving me made it worse because we’re all going to die someday. Loving people is like loving a disposable paper plate. It’s great while it lasts, but it doesn’t last long.
I wondered why I even bothered going to counseling. I mean, it did take up a bit of time, but the meetings were so annoying. What the counselor didn’t know was this problem was not just an emotional phase. It’s been coming all my life, but finally came to fruition. Slow in coming, but when it arrived it arrived with a bang. Though it was more like a thud. A heavy, dead thud.
There was always something next, something left to do. I had to finish school, go to college, get situated in my career. I had a good childhood, even happy. We lived in Southern California where my father was the president and CEO of the same shampoo line I own now, Hairbeauti. In fact, my growing up years might have been described as ideal: our family was close, my sister and I went to a private school and got good grades, every year our family went on vacations in the tropics, and I even got a brand new jaguar sport-scar on my sixteenth birthday. It was great. I’ll just be upfront, we had a lot of money; my parents were both millionaires. The problem started in highschool. All of the sudden everybody wanted to know what I was going to do with my life, but I had no idea. I was haunted with the thought that if I died on any given day, not much in the world would go wrong. If I had never been born nobody would miss much. I offered humanity nothing. I started to wonder if my life would ever count for anything.
But, my lack of vision didn’t stop life from moving forward. When I graduated from University, my dad told me he was looking to retire and wanted to know if I would run the company, as he would like it to stay in the family. I said yes. Fast forward to the present, mum and dad are living their later years in comfort and style, and my sister and her husband, both dedicated doctors, are expecting a baby. Meanwhile, I still have no idea what I’m going to do with my life (other than sell shampoo), or if I even want a life.
Now, I live a solitary life, which is unfortunate because it allows me to be my true self. Thus, the less I have to interact with people the lower I sink. My counselor says the solution to is be around people more, but that’s not really a solution. That’s like taking a painkiller for a wound instead of trying to heal it.
Every day I put on a suit and head to the office, where all I do is sign papers, sit in the biggest chair at board meetings, and drink coffee by myself behind a desk made of some Brazilian tree I forgot name of. I’ve reached it. I’ve done all I was supposed to do, and at the end of it all I find nothing. Just blank white walls of emptiness, where the most significant thing I do is sign notes for my secretary stating I’m not interested in suing people who infringe on our Hairbeauti’s label copyright. Endless drudgery.
My highest expectation in life is to feel nothing, for I tire of despair. Perhaps that’s my only goal, to feel nothing. It’s comical really, that people desire for themselves most deeply that which they can never have. It’s easy to get rich and have fun, for me at least. The hard part is finding a reason for existence—and it cannot not be just any reason, it must gloriously sufficient. You see, merely living and breathing is an expense, not only to one’s own self, but to the entire earth. We consume limited resources simply to stay alive. Is it not immoral to stay alive if your life is wasted? Not only must I find a reason for living, it must be reason enough to outweigh the negatives of living. The only thing worth living for is something you would sacrifice your life for.
I used to wonder how people less fortunate than I kept on going when their lives were so hard. But I think that’s because people can take a lot if they feel they’re at least working towards something, if they have a glimmer of hope for a better future and a life that counts for something. I suppose that’s the difference between them and me. I cannot tolerate anything, because for me it’s not worth it. There’s no use in running the gauntlet if there isn’t any prize at the end, not even a feeling of self satisfaction. This is why I think I must not have been meant to live. Maybe none of us were.
People are often surprised to find wealthy people are often the most depressed. They think rich people should be happy because they have all kinds of privileges. But is it not obvious? The reason wealthy people are more depressed, is they don’t have to fight to survive. In fact, they don’t have to do anything. When you don’t have anything to do, you have more time to think, and when people have time to think, they find out the truth. So the richer you are, the more likely you are to be depressed. To most people, that doesn’t make sense. After all, don’t we have it all? Nice jobs in air-conditioned facilities, all the food and entertainment we could want. Poor people would be just as miserable as us, except they are too busy trying to survive to see it’s all a waste.
There’s all this heartache echoing in the corners and seeping into our hearts. It was born inside our blood, the inheritance of darkness. Is it possible whenever people cry, it is because the thin walls of their soul have worn down or cracked? Is it possible whenever people scream their natural state of being leaks out? People always think it’s just a fluke, but maybe that’s all we are. What hurts the worst is, there’s no way to fix it, ever. Ever. Everybody has been trying since the world began but they can’t fix it. Even if they did fix it by some defiance of all logic and reason, what then? What then? What do we do when the poor are fed and the sick are healed? What then, I ask you? Nothing. Simply, darkly, nothing. Even in Elysium, the only occupation available is to distract ourselves until we die, and new people will be born who will tread the same footsteps of distraction till death. Then when people have gone on dying for hundreds, thousands, even millions of years, the sun will burn out and everything will be the same except there will be no more people left to be born and die. Everything will be over. Because it was over to begin with. Whatever we do will be washed away in the oblivion of time and death.
My mind is a prison, holding me still and silent. If anybody leaves me alone for too long, I just stop. Doing the dishes, or watching TV. At work, at the grocery store, anywhere. I simply stop and stand there frozen, as my eyes glaze over with a blank expression and I recede into my empty thoughts until someone or something arouses me. And then I go on, eyes still dead, doing whatever is expected of me, until I stop again. Standing still is my only real life. The rest is just…stuff. Stuff I do to appear normal, because most people don’t know there is no light behind my blank eyes. There is simply nothing. And because of this, I laugh. A hearty, empty laugh—because my eyes hurt from tears. And after all, don’t you think it’s kind of funny all that exists is nothing? It’s kind of a neat trick that I want something that doesn’t exist. I think the most fun thing about all this is I’m going crazy. And I know it. I know it. Heh.
For the first time in a while, I didn’t wake up angry I would have to face yet another day of blocking out the thoughts that chewed at my sanity. I woke up to a scent. Coffee. Apparently my new housekeeper had prepared some coffee for me. And it was a good thing too, at least I would have her for company that morning. It was always that time before the day got fully started I found rather hard to handle, as there were no people around to put on an act for and I was left with myself. The wretched agony came raging into my mind without provocation and without anything to stop it. Sundays were so hard; there was far less to distract myself with.
Emotions came hammering in and before I knew it I was starkly aware I did not want to exist. I was angry I existed. I pounded my fist on the pillow. It will be okay, I told myself, she will be along soon with the coffee. I wondered what her first name was.I knew I must have read it somewhere when the housekeeping agency referred her to me but I couldn’t remember. I would have liked to put her name at the end when I said “thank you” for the coffee. But I didn’t want to ask, she probably didn’t want to be bothered. She might find it annoying or inappropriate in some way of I asked her first name. Maybe I could ask her to dust my room or rearrange my books, so I would not be alone.
I heard the maid’s light, quick footsteps tramping down the hallway and the cup clanking on the plate. I sat up in bed. She knocked on the door. “Come in,” I said. She opened the door, smiling.
“Good morning Mr. Weston, I’ve brought your coffee!” she chimed, trotting in.
I pulled out the slide-able surface on his nightstand that would extend over my bed and she set the coffee down. I knew from the moment she placed it in front of me something was not quite right. It looked all wrong in the cup. I took a sip timidly. Acidic. Watery. Flavorless. Ashy. What was the point of buying specially imported beans for a six hundred dollar coffee maker if the coffee just ended up boiled to death? Apparently, I was going to have to show her how to use the coffee machine again. But who could blame her, the thing was probably harder to operate than a NASA space rover. I supposed for now I would just have to ask her to take the coffee back and get a simple cup of tea instead. But no, she might not like that. The maid might think me a picky and demanding employer. Then she would try to avoid me and I would be left alone with my own sinking thoughts again. No, I couldn’t have that. The coffee wasn’t that bad.
I was getting worried about what on earth I would do with myself that Sunday, until I remembered it had been two weeks since I’d been shopping. Perhaps not every place would be open on a Sunday, but it was worth a go. I like to buy my own groceries, so I have something to do. Not that I enjoy doing it of course, but it’s something I feel I must do myself for the time being, as it would take a while to properly train someone else to know how to choose the correct items. The last maid I had bought cheese filled frankfurters when I had her do the shopping. The yellow paste inside did not even resemble real cheese, let alone the fact that the sausages in that brand were pale and bloated, apparently composed out of the scraps someone scraped off to the bottom of the scrap barrel. That’s when I decided that it would only be me or my chef doing the shopping, and as shopping is not in my chef’s job description, the duty falls to me.
When my last housekeeper quit her job to get married, I considered not hiring a new one so I would have more things to do about the house and keep myself occupied. I tried that for a while, but I found it hard to be so completely alone for long periods. Having a housekeeper keeps me having to act normal, like everything is all right. When I have a maid in the house I feel obligated to eat at regular times, go in to work, and occupy myself instead of just staring at the carpet, as I tend to do when left by myself.
At least I still do the shopping, which causes me to get out once in a while, apart from going to the office. It takes me quite a while to get all the shopping done, as I have to go to multiple stores to get all of the best items. I have been to just about every store that sells food within an hour’s driving time radius of my home in search of the best places to buy all the things I need. I even surveyed Walmart’s stock, and discovered most of their things are not as bad everyone says. The Oreos at Walmart looked just as good as the Oreos everywhere else—I know because there was a package of them sitting on the shelf open and I could see them.
Thusly, I buy all my cereal from the health food store, most of my bread from a Mexican bakery run out of an old gas station, my tomatoes from the farmer’s market just outside of town when they are in season, coffee grounds from a café downtown, and so on. But I won’t bore you with my particularities. After I’d had my coffee I put on my tweed suit—without a tie, as it was the weekend and I thought I should at least make some effort to look like casual—I got in my BMW and headed out.
It happened at the park, near the fountain. After I’d put away my groceries, I still had quite a bit of time to kill, so my mind wouldn’t kill me. I was too nervous to stay in the house, so I figured I might as well sit on a park bench for a while.
In the sweltering heat kids sat on the ledge of the fountain hoping to get splashed by the geysers of water. I remember being a kid. It was pure bliss—though I didn’t always know it at the time. If I was a kid, I would have gone to the water and dipped my hands in it. I would have introduced myself to the other kids, and if I stayed there long enough I would have asked them what their favorite colors were and suggested we play tag. That was before I was aware of how messed up and hurting the world was, back when I had such big hopes for the future. I remember thinking my life was going to be “awesome” when I grew up. I dreamed about the future and going to school so I could fulfill those dreams—at least, that’s what my parents told me would happen if I got good grades. I almost feel like a traitor to my old self for not having the life I used to be so excited about. If only I had remained in that ignorant bliss.
Once again, my thoughts lead me back to thinking about the pointlessness of it all, as they always do if I think too long. It is indeed true an idle mind is the workshop of the devil, whether you believe in that stuff or not. I tried to push all thoughts of philosophy and the past away, as I knew thinking about it would only make it worse—not that not thinking about it would make anything better, of course.
I washed my mind of those thoughts, and once again my brain became annoyingly empty. I slumped to rest my head on the back of the bench, scanning the clutter in my thoughts for something that wasn’t boring, but by now I had forgotten how to think of anything other than meaninglessness. But even thinking about that was boring now.
I let out an exasperated sigh, closing my eyes. When I opened them again, what I saw saved me from my bout with boredom that afternoon. In retrospect, what I saw may have also saved my sanity. From my upside down view I saw a man, walking. The look on his face caused me to sit up and turn my head to look at him properly. He was approaching from behind, with angular features and deep-set eyes fixed ahead. There was something about him. Something. It was in the way he walked, the steady thoughtfulness of his gray eyes. He existed within an aura of purpose and confidence, even though he didn’t appear to be doing much of anything but strolling through the park. He had wheat-brown curly hair and a sturdy yet relatively average frame. He walked with a sense of direction, completely set apart from the masses that tread like cattle dutifully going through the expected motions. Instead of the emptiness, I saw something in his face. No, not a glorious light or any of that rubbish—but it was solid matter of some kind. The point is, there was something, not nothing. And in a universe full of nothing, something is a pretty big deal.
So, I followed him. I’ve got nothing better to do, I rationalized. As if I ever, have anything better to do, I thought with a slight smirk.
Ahead was Giorgio’s, a food truck I stopped by for a gyros every now and then—it was among the best in town, even though the tztiki didn’t have enough cucumber. As the man passed by the truck he was greeted by name by the truck’s proprietor. “Evenin’ Elijah!” Giorgio said with a wave. Apparently, the man was a local. No one could pass by the gyros truck many times without getting a hearty “good morning” or “hello there” from Giorgio.
An idea dawned on me. Gyros was on the menu for dinner today. As Elijah walked on, I headed over to the food truck. Giorgio saw me approaching and hung out of the window of his truck, calling with a grin, “Hello there Richard!”
I smiled in an attempt to return his robust friendliness. “Hello. I’ll have a gyros please.”
Giorgio snapped his fingers exuberantly. “Coming right up. I know how you like it, my friend!”
As Giorgio served up a sandwich for me, I made my move. “I’ve seen a guy pass by here who I think you know. His name is Elijah…” I asked.
Giorgos nodded, “Elijah? Sure thing, walks home this way near daily.”
“You know anything about him? I feel like I might know him for somewhere,” I lied, shoving a hand in my coat pocket nervously.
He spooned tzatziki sauce onto the pita. “Lives in an apartment near here. Works over at the Joe’s Automotive. Nice guy.”
Giorgio handed me my gyro. “Thanks for the info,” I said, leaving a generous tip. “And the sandwich!” So, this Elijah is guy worked at an auto shop. How different his life must have been from mine. Though I would do anything to switch places with him, as long as he wasn’t in turn cursed with my life.
After work the next day, I went back to the park and sat on the bench I had first seen Elijah at and waited. Sure enough, he soon came into view. I recognized him immediately. A face with such character was hard to forget. I tried not to look like I was staring, but as I watched him I saw it had not been my imagination, he truly did have Something. You can tell a lot about people by how they walk. Most people seem to walk like ants: wavering paths, stopping and starting and going in all directions, as if they are just figuring out what they are doing as they go. But not this guy. It was like he took himself seriously, like he took life seriously. I feel like most people just wonder around in the world trying to survive the best way they know how, with not much of an end goal. They just fill days up with going to the store, taking kids to school, getting their car fixed, and trying to find something good on television. But Elijah seemed to be doing things, not just filling up days.
For several days I went back to that bench in the evenings, to watch him pass by. Sometimes, when I felt the expanse of nothingness creeping up on me, I even went back when he wasn’t there, hoping to somehow catch a bit of solid matter the man had left behind, as if it were breath in the air. I sat waiting for him one Saturday, the last rays of sun casting a faint glow of warm color over the tops of the trees. Only the tops. My thoughts were constantly trying to batter me, to put me in a state of unspeakable anxiety. It was a battle I rarely got rest from, but it was calming to stare up at that spot of sunlight. Those brown leaves cast in yellow. It gave me a kind of happiness. I gazed upon it for a long time, trying to suck up the joy that glowed on those top branches. The light I saw up there was so warm it made me feel cold.
I remembered that one morning I saw light coming through the blinds, the light that kept me from living out my days in a stupor of anxiety medication. It just didn’t make sense, these signs there was Something: the sunlight through the blinds, the purposefulness of Elijah, and the glow at the top of the trees. It seemed like it had to matter somehow, even though I knew it couldn’t.
It’s so delicate, the balance between being alright and being deep in a pit of desperate sadness. I wouldn’t exactly call it “alright” though, so much as “nothing.” Because after a while nothing starts to feel better than pain. The sun had fallen behind the horizon, erasing the gold and leaving me in lifeless twilight. I suddenly felt alone.
It shatters me that all that shine and glamour the world puts on turns out to be nothing. Just like in movies when they show you the behind the scenes, and it turns out that wonderful world you thought was there is nothing but a blue screen. My eyes and mind thirst ravenously for something simply real. I would honestly prefer a horrific war zone to a blue screen. Even if that’s all I can get, it would be far better than nothing.
It’s like when I took a psychology class in college and found out about chemicals in the brain that control your body and emotions and all that. It turns out what you thought were real feelings are nothing but oxytocin and serotonin and dopamine. It’s like the Wizard of Oz. Rip the curtain aside and you will find nothing but a big machine controlling your emotions, thoughts, perceptions, and actions. You think you are real, but it turns out you are nothing but a blue screen too. It made me wonder now about that spot of sunlight I saw coming through the blinds. It seemed like something to me, but how could I be sure?
I wished so badly the sun had stayed, but there was nothing I could about it. I closed my eyes and pressed my palm against my eye socket. Twitching. Again. I wondered how long I could go on like this before succumbing to either pills or insanity.
Once again, I was saved—for the moment at least—by Elijah, as he came striding into sight. When I saw his face, the throbbing faded away and the twitching subsided. Eunoia emanated from him. I realized I had known from the moment I saw him that I would go to him. I would somehow find what was with him. Why not today? I thought. Tomorrow would be no different. After all, what could I possibly have to lose, especially when there was a chance—a tiny wild chance—I could gain Something.
The great elusive Something was within my grasp if only I could draw it out of the man. He made me wonder if there was hope, and I had made me dependent on him because of that. I couldn’t lose him—or rather, I couldn’t lose whatever it was he had. It wasn’t very safe hanging my hopes on a man I didn’t even know—what a mess I would be in if he simply decided to take a different route home. I might never see him again. I might never know what he had.
I got up. Time for some Gyros again. Giorgos was at his food truck, as always. I put on my most convincing smile and ordered the usual, casually asking, “Hey, you remember that guy I said I might know, Elijah?”
Giorgos nodded. “A coincidence you should mention him, he just passed by here a few moments ago, poor man.”
“What do you mean?”
“Told me his landlord kicked him out after he lost his job. He’s off to Michigan. Told me he couldn’t afford rent anymore and was going to stay with family until he could get some income.”
My smile faded out. “Wait, he’s leaving now?”
Giorgios shaved the gyros of the spit. “Yep. Said he was gonna catch the seven o’clock subway.”
My mind exploded in panic. It was nearly seven now. “You can have my sandwich, I’ve gotta go!”
Giorgos fumbled with his cash register as I left. “Here, lemme give you your money back!”
“Keep it!” I called, as I broke into a run.
When I hit the street, I scanned up and down road for a taxi and waved my arm at the first one I saw. I was still breathing heavily when a cab driver pulled up to me. I jumped in and scrambled to hand him a fifty dollar bill saying, “The subway station, fast!”
I prayed to no one he hadn’t got on the train yet, as I scanned the station for Elijah’s curly pecan-colored hair. It had been a long time since I was at the subway station, and I had forgotten how busy it could get.
I spotted him walking along side the train car, holding a duffle bag in one hand and a cardboard box in the other. I was thankful I was dressed in my usual suit and tie so he wouldn’t think me to be some strange hooligan. I sucked in a breath of courage and walked briskly to catch up with him. “Excuse me sir!” I said.
He stopped in his tracks and faced me full-on. “Yes?”
I fumbled with the sleeves of my jacket. “Do you—do you have a minute?”
“I’ve got a train leaving soon, but yeah.” I noticed him briefly eye my formal attire.
I could feel myself face turning red. What was I supposed to say? I just met you and this is crazy, but I’m a suicidal nihilist so help me maybe? “I’ve seen you walk by at the park, and I want to know something,” I said.
Elijah put his hands in his pockets casually, and waited for me to go on.
I plunged in. “The thing is…well…What is it? What is it about you? You’ve got something. I know you do. You’re different from other people. You’re holding onto something…You’ve got something.” I knew how crazy I must have sounded to him, and I began to speak rapidly. “Please tell me what it is, because I don’t have anything. I didn’t know there was anything. I know this sounds weird, I know I’m not being very clear but that’s because I don’t know what it is you have. That’s why I’m asking.”
He must have seen the stress in my face, because he interrupted my saying, “It’s okay. You’re right.”
I knew it. I had been right. I was right. It wasn’t just my imagination. I had no idea what it was going to be, what could it possibly be? I stammered, “What…what is it?”
He licked his lips and shook his head, shrugging. “I…I can’t just tell you. You won’t believe me, even if you want to. You have to figure it out for yourself.”
The station intercom announced, “Please board now for the New York to Detroit departure at seven o’clock.” Elijah shifted on his feet. “That’s my train.”
I swallowed hard. He wasn’t going to tell me? How could he do this to me? He would never be that heartless if he only knew, no one could be. I begged him, “Wait! Please just tell me. I don’t know! I don’t know! I want to know. Please. You don’t understand. I’m asking you to help me.” My eyes started stinging and my breathing became heavy. “You’ve got to understand, I can’t figure it out. I can’t. Don’t just leave me like this, you can’t. You’re the only person who knows…”
He set his box down and put his hand on my shoulder, startlingly firm. “Just hold on, it’s okay. I’m not going anywhere yet. I’ll help you.” Elijah glanced around. A buzz of people were boarding the sub train. “I’ll miss it of I don’t go now, but can you give me your phone number or something?”
“You don’t have to go at all! I’ll pay your rent, you don’t have to leave your apartment. I’ll pay for a hotel. Heck, you could even stay at my house, whatever you want.”
“How do you know about that?”
“I’ll explain later. Just stay, please.”
“You’ll really pay? No, I can’t let you do that for me. It’s too generous.”
“Then stay at my house! Anything. Please, I’ll be indebted to you forever.”
“Okay. This is crazy, but okay. You’re pretty desperate, huh?”
I let out a heavy breath. “Very.”
“I just hope I can get a refund for these tickets.”
I couldn’t believe he was was actually going to stay. For me. “If they don’t, I’ll give you the money.”
“Deep pockets, eh?”
I chuckled, “Yeah.” Billionaire, to be precise, I thought. “Can I take your things for you?” I gestured at his box and bag.
“Yeah, thanks. You can grab the box if you want.”
I picked up the box as he went to return his tickets. It was heavy and full of books, mostly paperbacks and a few old library books. After he got his refund we got a taxi. It was odd, actually being in his company after watching him like some sort of fictionalized celebrity. “You said wanna go to my house, right? You’d probably be most comfortable there.”
“I feel bad taking advantage of you…”
“No, I’ve got plenty of room.”
I smiled, thinking of all my empty rooms. “Very sure.”
When I told the cabby where to go, Elijah gave me an odd glance. I wondered if he recognized the address of the biggest house in town.
Elijah looked at me in disbelief as the taxi pulled through the gates to my home. “Don’t tell me you live here.”
An embarrassed smile crossed my face. “Yeah…”
Elijah leaned against the kitchen island as I prepared some coffee. By then I had introduced myself properly amd explained how I learned about him from Giorgio.
“So…you wanna tell me what this is all about? Specifically?” Elijah said.
I poured coffee beans into the filter. “Yes, I suppose I may as well tell you outright.”
“Well, what’s your problem?”
“It’s not my problem, it’s the problem.”
Elijah raised his eyebrows. “Alright. Go on.”
“Life. It’s pointless.”
Elijah narrowed his eyes. “People say that all the time, but they don’t really believe it.”
“I believe it.”
“Yeah? Lets test that. Why don’t you just kill yourself then, if you really believe it?”
I shrugged. “I would.”
“Then why don’t you?”
“I have a family, they would be pretty upset.”
He nodded. “That is a conundrum.” Elijah paused for a moment, folding his arms and stroking his chin. “Perhaps the conundrum exists for a reason. Perhaps it was meant to be there to keep you living long enough to find the reason for life.”
“That is a thought. Perhaps the universe holds some logic yet,” I chuckled. The coffee machine chimed, signaling it was finished.
“It’s not just me you know, I’m just one of the few who have discovered it,” I said as I got two silver rimmed coffee mugs out of the cupboard. “Life on this earth just doesn’t cut it. Have you ever thought about why people are so consumed and obsessed with the fictional worlds in books, video games, and movies? Why do you think people dress up as all manner of characters for cosplay conventions? Because real life just isn’t good enough. It’s just not. And we know it, deep down.”
I placed a mug under the coffee spout and dark brown liquid sputtered out with a heavenly scent. “Cream? Sugar?” I asked Elijah.
“A bit of sugar please,” he replied. “Go on.” I’d noticed people without access to quality coffee usually took sugar to weigh out the bitterness of cheap blends, and cream too if the coffee was really bad. I spooned some sugar into his coffee and gave it a stir. It was good coffee, but sugar wouldn’t hurt it. I poured myself a cup as well. Black, of course.
I continued to explain, “If you’ve ever met a Lord of the Rings fan, you’ll know what I’m talking about. They go off speaking in fictional languages, name their children after characters in the book, and dress up as Hobbits and Elves. That’s because they thirst for a world bursting with epic excitement, beauty, love, meaning, and purpose. The Lord of the Rings gives them that. We want to immerse ourselves in other better worlds because we’re not happy with the ones we have. The world isn’t what it should be by any measure.”
I handed Elijah the mug of coffee. “Thank you,” he said. “You’re right you know. “You’re right, it’s not. It’s not good enough for me either. But that’s okay, it’s not supposed to be.”
I did a double take. “What? What do you mean it’s not supposed to be? I don’t understand.” I slid my hands around the coffee cup. It was so warm it almost burned my hands, but I liked it. I enjoyed moderately painful stimulation the way a person enjoys a sad movie.
Elijah took a gulp of coffee before saying, “Now I told you, you’re not going to believe me. The thing is, I figure, I’ve got plenty of time to be happy and enjoy myself later. I’m here on earth for different reason than that. That’s because I believe—wait. No. You know what, let’s go about this a different way. What kind of answer would satisfy you?”
I cocked my head. “What do you mean?”
“Just make something up. What would make you want to go on living? What do you want to be true?”
“But I don’t believe in existentialism…”
“What? Oh. Hush about that for now. Neither do I. Besides, you don’t believe in anything. Yet. Just…what would have to be true to satisfy you? What is is you want?”
I took a sip of coffee. This certainly wasn’t the type of thing I normally meditated on. I usually just thought about how things were, not how I wanted them to be. “Well…When I was younger I had a sense there was something way bigger out there, something like we’ve never even fathomed before…something alive and wonderful. Don’t know how much sense that makes, but I guess I kind of wish that was real.”
“I everyone thinks that way, in the back of their minds somewhere. I think that’s the reason people keep going when it seems impossible, and when they try even when failing is guaranteed.”
I took a seat on one of the tall kitchen stools. “I just wish there was something more, something bigger than this finite life on this tiny planet. Something I can know will matter forever. I guess that would do it for me. Some kind of significant and really good thing that lasted forever, that everyone could be a part of. But I know that’s impossible. I know that sounds crazy.”
“I’ve learned just because something sounds crazy doesn’t mean it’s not true. When I was a kid the process of evolution sounded impossible—all this stuff evolving from a soup of bacteria? I thought it was ridiculous we could feel heat from a star that was 93 million miles away. But just because something seems intangible doesn’t rule it out.”
“What are you saying?”
“That I think there is. It’s something outside of you. The only thing that makes anything worthwhile is if it is part of something bigger and better than what we see, something that lasts forever like you said. And that thing, that significance, exists. But I don’t have to tell you that. If you really think about it, you know there is. You said it yourself, you could sense it, feel it.”
“But like I said, that’s impossible. People die every day without ever getting to anything bigger.”
Elijah set his coffee down and spoke intently, “How would you know if they did? People don’t just go away, you know. Why would you think people end just because they die? Honestly, I can’t even wrap my mind around that concept. I just seems impossible to me. I can’t image what people ending would be like. How can you be a conscious person with dreams and feelings one minute and then utterly gone the next? It even seems to break the rules of science. Energy cannot be destroyed. It’s harder to believe people just endthan it is to think they keep on going forever. It always seemed to me that some part of us, in some form, has to go on forever. I’m telling you, what you told me you want to be true is.”
I shook my head. “I don’t know if I can believe that. I don’t know if I can completely utterly believe something like that, something so intangible. I want to know for sure.”
“Maybe it’s just going to take some time. But you’ve got to understand, it’s going to be like that with everything. There are going to be times when you think, ‘maybe this is all a bunch of nonsense, maybe there was a flaw in my thinking somewhere?’ No matter what your religion or philosophy, you’ll never know beyond a shadow of a doubt if you really have it all right or not. Ask any honest person. There’s plenty of doubt even for the laws of nature.”
I looked at the coffee in my mug, so dark you couldn’t see the bottom of the cup. It was crazy. It was too good to be true. But what other option did I have?
“What proof do you want me to offer? What’s it gonna take for you to believe? On one side I think, you know, who am I to say I have the answer? But on the other hand I’m kind of proof there is an answer. I mean, I’ve been through a lot of the same thoughts you’re having. No kidding.”
I picked at the button on my cuff thoughtfully. “I guess really I don’t want some kind of scientific proof. That would mean it could get destroyed just like everything else.”
“So what do you want?”
“Yeah, just you. Seeing you, knowing you. Everything you’ve said makes sense, but you…you’re proof.”
Eljah’s mouth twitched a smile. “I’d tell you not to put too much faith in me, but I think you already have.”
“So this is real? You really believe things go on, and they there is a Something? I can really believe this?”
“It has to be true. And that’s not just my optimism talking. I mean, I don’t think there’s ever been a time when people didn’t believe in something more. Because we get glimpses of it all the time.”
Something started happening. Like a song building, I didn’t notice it until it got fairly loud. I didn’t know what it was at first. It felt strange and new. Elation. Like inhaling a breath of air after being held underwater until going unconscious. Soon it was almost more than I could handle. It was the kind of happiness that made me want to be silent in awe of it, and maybe even drop a few tears. Kind of funny how desperation and elation look the same but taste so different. Desperation is like having gallons of lukewarm water poured down your throat, but elation tastes like apple juice. I’ve always thought if sunlight was a liquid it would be apple juice.
It was over. I was almost scared to believe it, but it was over. I could breathe again. I would never have to be in utter despair again. No matter what. And all because of Something. Elijah handed me a Kleenex out of a box on the counter. I guess I had teared up a bit. You would too if you’d been raised from death and given the universe, which is how I felt.
“Okay.” I said.
I shrugged. “I believe. That’s it. I believe.”
I didn’t know how long it would take for me to stop waking up with bruises from hitting the walls. But it was different now. Before it was like waking from a nightmare into a worse one, but now I awoke to find that the nightmare isn’t real. And after I realized that, I felt so warm, with restless anticipation. It was like waking up on my birthday when I was a kid. At first you think it’s just another day, but then it dawns on you: it’s my birthday. Suddenly you feel special, and have a happy expectancy of good things all day. The feeling is even better than the presents. Yeah, this would be a good day. Even if nothing different happened, this would be a good day.
I left the house early to go to work, while the mist was still hanging in the air. Even though it was a Saturday, apparently a board meeting had been scheduled. I hoped it wouldn’t last more than an hour or two so I could get back home. I doubted Elijah had even woken up yet, but I knew my housekeeper would take good care of him when he did. The sun was shining brighter by the minute, evaporating the dew. I contemplated that perhaps the Something is like the sun; huge and small at the same time. Like it’s out there big and burning a millions miles away, but it’s also resting on the grass, making the air glow and warming your face.
Life was going to be completely different now. It might not look different, but it will be. Who knows, now that I knew things mattered and things were worth saving and loving, anything could happen. It was quite a bit of responsibility. If stuff matters that means you have to take care of things. You know how when kids get foam cups they scratch their names in them? They get bite marks on the rims, and generally mangle them. That’s because the cups are disposable. It doesn’t matter what you do with them because you’re just going to throw them away. But what if you were going to keep it as your only cup? You would be careful not to mess it up. Knowing things are going to last makes them more valuable and makes you more responsible. To me, it meant my actions and thoughts mattered. I mattered.
I stared blankly at the seventh report handed to me that day. The meeting was running into the second hour now. A jagged line showing sales increases and decreases for our various hair products spanned across a grid. Who even cares, I thought.
The feeling of elation I had felt earlier was gone. It hadn’t taken long for the mundane tediousness of heading a shampoo company to sap it out of me. I had tried before to get other people to sign the paperwork and analyze reports, but my board members insisted it was essential I did it. And of course, I didn’t want them to doubt my commitment to the company and my passion for our products. Or something like that. Though to be honest, I doubted even my father had ever been passionate about it. He hadtold me countless times he took pride in selling the best hair products, even if they were a little pricy, but that’s not exactly what I consider a mission worth living for.
I couldn’t stop thinking about it. The idea the elation had stemmed from—the utter enormity of the idea that there was a massive force and at least some things lasted forever. Whereas before the depth of emptiness gnawed at me, the expansive possibilities of Something filled my thoughts.
When I got home it was still only nine thirty. I found Elijah in the library, where nooks lined the walls on dark wood shelves. Elijah sat in one of the oversized leather chairs positioned around a walnut coffee table, reading with a furrowed brow. He was reading with such intensity I didn’t want to disturb him, but when I walked in he looked up. He smiled and pushed his curly hair back with his fingers.
I said, “Hello there…sorry I kind of ran out on you, I had to go to a meeting.”
Elijah nodded. “Yeah, Rebecca told me.”
“Oh, right.” So that’s her name, I thought. Why hadn’t I known that? The housekeeping agency had just introduced her as Mrs. Johnson. I guess I had been too nervous to ask. “What book have you got?”
He held up A Tale of Two Cities, showing me the cover. I nodded. “I started reading that once. Didn’t finish, but it seemed like a good book.”
Elijah closed the book. “Yeah, you oughta pick it up again. Really nice copy you have too,” he said, stroking the leather cover.
“Yeah.” There was silence for a moment.
He laid his book on the coffee table. “So uh, I wanna ask but I don’t mean to be blunt….who are you? I hardly know anything about you, other than that your name is Richard Weston, you make great coffee, and live in an exceptionally large house,” he said with a slanting grin. Elijah was an interesting person. He always looked so serious and intellectual, but could spontaneously light up and look almost playful
I chuckled, he must have wandered around my big dark rooms a bit. I sat down in a chair across from him and tried to think of a response. Who was I anyway? It’s amazing how fast depression can annihilate everything. I’m pretty sure I don’t even have a personality anymore. My personality is depression. “Yeah sorry, I should have introduced myself better. Well, I run a shampoo company and my dad used to run it and I guess he ran it pretty well so, yeah. That’s the reason for the big house and all.” I shrugged, “I was going to get a smaller one but my mom insisted I get something nice.”
Elijah leaned back in his chair. “Shampoo business is pretty good, huh?”
I smiled nervously. “Yeah.” I didn’t mention it was good enough to make me a few billion for a salary. I didn’t want to hide it, but it just wasn’t the kind of thing you say to a guy who just got kicked out of his apartment.
Elijah nodded. “So, how’s it going? I mean, how do you feel about what we talked about last night?”
Glad to be off the subject of my career I contemplated his question. How was I doing anyway? The art of not-being-depressed-anymore would take some getting used to. “Well…I don’t know, I’m just kind of scared. I’m scared this will go away, that I’ll stop believing it.”
“That’s what faith is for. A lot of people think faith is believing in things you don’t have proof for, but the way I understand it, faith is basically just so you don’t freak out and go ‘oh no my whole life is a lie!’ every time you hit a bump. Faith helps out even in really big bumps. And looking back I’m always like, ‘gosh, I’m glad I didn’t decide to cancel the trip or run off a cliff because of that bump.’”
Faith. Maybe that word people liked to talk about in churches and get tattooed in their skin was actually useful. Elijah made so many things seem suddenly real and valuable. Or maybe it was hope in The Great Something that did that. “This is all just so…remarkable. People have to know about this,” I said.
Every single day someone feels worthless, someone loses the one thing they loved most in the world, someone’s heart stops, and someone despairs enough to wish their heart would stop. If only they knew every good thing they did mattered and would matter forever. If only they knew they would matter forever, and no one and nothing good can truly die. How much different would they feel? How much different would they live?
The contrast between what I contemplate and what I say is the same as reading a book and reading an excerpt on Wikipedia. But this time I decided to say what I was thinking. I leaned forward in my chair as I said, “I’m sure there are people out there just like me who don’t know…there must be so many people who wish there was something more, something meaningful. There must be people who want that so bad and all they need is a little of both of logic and faith, just like me. How do I….how do I tell people? How can I make them know?”
Elijah ran his hand through his hair. “Umm, I don’t really know. Maybe you can lead them to it the same way you figured it out. Show them sunlight. Be sunlight. Then maybe they will start to figure it out just like you did.”
I guess I was wrong about the ending of this, however for that I am not sorry. I told you it would end in nothing, but it turned out to end in quite the opposite. The feeling of elation came and went since my conversion to Somethingism. But the sense that no matter what everything would be okay—in fact, more than okay—never went away. Sure, I had to make the faith thing kick in every now and then, but I knew. I knew there was something.
Elijah ended up staying at my house. He had said he didn’t want to impose, but I insisted it would actually be a great support to me if he stayed. At first I seriously considered pulling out of the shampoo company, but I think I might be able to do some good with it yet and I’m working on some ideas. Ad campaigns, community programs, charities. There’s got to be some way to make shampoo matter, right?
I’m still searching for The Great Something, to be honest. I suppose I won’t find it completely until I pass on, and that’s okay. So much of life is only a shadow of greatness that exists somewhere in the ever-present future cosmos, but sometimes it’s a beautiful shadow.